No knee-jerk reaction to All-Ireland football final cynicism

Playing rules committee chairman Jarlath Burns has revealed they have been asked to address the cynicism that was seen in the closing stages of last month’s All-Ireland senior football final. However, he admitted they are unlikely to bring forward any proposed rule changes to do so.

Jarlath Burns: 'You can't really knee-jerk on the basis of cynicism in the last five or 10 minutes of the All-Ireland final.'

“People have come up to us and you can’t really knee-jerk on the basis of cynicism in the last five or 10 minutes of the All-Ireland final. I don’t think that’s something that our committee is going to change. But I definitely think there has been a change in the game and the attitude towards the game. People lambast the black card. The black card is a temperament sanction and it deals with the actual player himself having to prepare his temperament to make sure he doesn’t carry out any of the infractions that we see.

“I remember reading a book and Joe McDonagh spoke in it. It was 1997 that the book came out. I took a photo of his comment and he said there was too much pulling and dragging in the game, too many stoppages and we needed to deal with it. I think that, by and large, we are dealing with it. It is going to be hard to eradicate in an aggressive game where aggression is such a part of it. But I think the game is better as a result of changes that have been brought in.”

Burns couldn’t say whether his group will bring forward a motion for Annual Congress in February although there may be an attempt to clean up some of the rules like the kick-out, which have been incrementally changed in the last 13 years.

Burns’ committee were successful on Saturday in having a motion passed (82%) that all kick-outs must pass the 20-metre line. That’s on top of being at least 13m in length. Dublin were the only county to vocally oppose the proposal, claiming that it would lead to negative play.

Burns said: “I think it was a very sensible change to be brought in. It wasn’t overly radical, you can’t afford to be overly radical when you are trying to get changes through Congress.”

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